Praise the Strong Woman


For several weeks this spring, a shouting Donald Trump made fun of the way Hillary Clinton was shouting. He complained that her voice was shrill and it hurt to hear it. All politicians shout. But women know exactly what it means when they’re accused of being shrill. It’s code for “Your strength is unattractive.”

Recently we lost a beautiful strong woman. Basketball coach Pat Summit won more games than any other coach in college basketball history. I love what her fiercest rival said of her, “She had vision, she had intensity, and she made it okay for a woman to stare you down from the sidelines and show emotion and get upset.”

Summit prowled, pounced and roared. She was shrill. And not only did she have the victories, her players had a 100 per cent graduation rate; among them were 14 Olympians, 21 All-Americans, and 34 WNBA players.

Mars stationed retrograde in late April, just as Venus disappeared into the underworld. Retrogrades and underworld visits are typically “unraveling” times. But what has unraveled during this retrograde is cause for celebration. The appeal of the “unconscious woman” seems to be diminishing. The beauty of the “strong woman” is rising.

This has long been in the works. But often it takes a tragedy for us to see how things are changing. The wide public outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence is one example. It was a retrograde sentence; the tables turned. The victim became the victor. Her letter to the court, addressing her rapist, was so powerful, the vice-president called her a “warrior–with a solid steel spine.” That’s one way to turn the Venus/Mars archetypes inside out & upside down.

Art often helps to pave the way for social changes. What we see in films and videos often helps us enter new worlds. In recent weeks we’ve seen some stunning depictions of “shrill” women on the cultural stage. Beyonce’s Lemonade dropped at the beginning of this period and gave us a jaw-dropping portrait of feminine strength. Never has an angry woman looked so beautiful as Beyonce does, in that canary yellow dress, evoking the goddess Oshun, as she smashes car windows with a baseball bat.  But then there’s also Danearys, hopping onto her dragon in the Game of Thrones. Cornered by the Masters and instructed to bow down, she says “Not so fast,” and then crushes her enemies with a rain of dragon-fire and two armies. Game of Thrones has given us many strong women this season. But perhaps most satisfying has been watching the fluffy innocent Sansa evolve into a cunning, powerful force. Much as I love Jon Snow, without Sansa, he’d be gone again by now! Then, of course, there’s the ultimate Kali, Cersei. Who knew that the Iron Throne would be up for grabs by so many queens!

Winter may be coming, but strong women are rising, in Westeros, and in our world too.

Why do we need these things?


There are often horrific events during Mars retrogrades. The Mars impulse–always in danger of getting dicey–comes more easily unhinged during these weeks.  Events in Orlando just last week are a heartbreaking testament: Christina Grimmie’s murder, the Pulse nightclub massacre, and the alligator who grabbed the little boy on a Disneyworld vacation. Bad things happen all the time, but unusual patterns of events turn our eyes skyward. Mars retrograde (since April 17) brought us the massive fire in Canada; there was the Egyptian plane disappearing, and the mystery of that, unraveling oh so slowly; a boy jumped into a gorilla pit, and a rapist got a sentence fit for a prince. There is a lot that has captured our attention and outrage.

But perhaps nothing is more horrific than the fact that here mass murders aren’t so unusual. In the United States, they’ve become commonplace. Almost anyone can get their hands on an assault rifle. This truth goes beyond politics, global terrorism, mental disability, homophobia. It takes us straight into Terror with a capital “T.” Assault rifles are objects of Terror. War is their only purpose. Why do we need to preserve people’s right to purchase weapons designed solely for the mass shooting of people? Why do we need these at all?  Like others, I am tired of our politicians’ “moments of silence.”

The Feminine is rising.  Alongside the heartbreaking events of recent weeks, there have been many equally powerful Mars retrograde stories that inspire hope and awe. I think of the outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence. If you have not yet read the powerful letter written by Brock’s victim, you’re missing an important document. Not only does she set the facts straight, she speaks from strength and with boundaries. We can learn from her. As VP Joe Biden acknowledged in his also powerful response, this “victim” is actually “a warrior–with a solid steel spine.”  I also think of the people lined up for miles to donate blood after the Pulse shooting, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony poignant acceptance sonnet, honoring the Orlando tragedy, his wife, and the divine feminine, with his heartbreaking insistence that “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. It cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Comedian Hasan Minhaj, speaking before a roomful of pundits and congressional workers noted, that since 1998, special interests like the NRA have funneled $3.7 million to Congress. He asks the congresspeople–who each earn over $200,000 a year–“If we raise four million dollars, would you guys take that to save lives?” What will it take for our leaders to serve the Great Mother and truly make our world a safer place?

Mars goes direct on June 29.

What’s your journal doing right now?


Has it been sitting on a shelf? Are its pages silent?  Gemini is THE cycle for talking and writing. And one of the best ways to do this–without risking the mischief that thinking out loud can cause–is to visit your journal  if you already have one. Or start one if you don’t .  Anne Frank is one of the world’s most famous journal keepers and not surprisingly, she had Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Gemini.  Whether your journal is elegant or funky or just a file on your computer—Gemini doesn’t care.  Write on scratch paper if you have to, but allow yourself the joy of stimulating your inner writer and listening to your thoughts. Discover what you didn’t know you were thinking.

Healing with Moonlight

julia full moon crop4

Full Moons can be busy times. If you’re feeling tired and a bit off balance, you may be suffering from “energy retention,” a condition much like water retention (which is also common during Full Moons). With energy retention, the currents or flows in your field seem to expand without actually going anywhere. It can feel like you just ate a big meal, stuffed and lethargic. If you find yourself in this condition, there’s a simple remedy: Fill your inner self with moonlight.  It has the power to calm soothe and dissolve the tension.

Your imagination and your breath are all that you need.  As you draw breath inward, imagine that moonlight is also drawing into the internal spaces of your body. It helps to do this slowly.  If you have an area of your body that’s congested, in pain, or otherwise weakened, draw moonlight here.  Another  great practice is to fill your feet with this healing light.  Your feet represent precious soul space in your body.  They have connections with every other part of your body’s temple.  Bring moonlight into your feet and notice how the entire inner space gets charged. Or just keep filling yourself.  Draw the light all the way to the top of your head.  Do whatever will be most healing for you now.  Let the mind cool.

Filling with this wonderful medicine while you’re bathing  in outer moonlight usually improves the experience–but sometimes the energy is too much. Experiment. Is this practice more profound if you’re outdoors or indoors? Be sure to notice how you feel before your moon-working.  Notice how you feel after.  Move slowly. Allow the energy to find its natural flow again.

Full Moons are a traditional time for contemplation. But there are many ways to do Moon practice. More is available in my monthly Moon Workshop:  info and enrollment here!

Mars is Retrograde till the End of June


Feeling tired? Cranky? Lost your momentum? Mars stationed retrograde on April 17 and will go direct on June 29.  During this time, whatever Mars rules is said to be weakened, including your vitality or your will to dare and win.  The sharp tools that are traditionally used for surgeries are Mars implements–so this is traditionally not a good time for surgeries.  Nor is it an auspicious time to launch a business, initiate a lawsuit, or start a war.  He who leaps during the retrograde tends to regret it.  These are the rules, but the whole world won’t stop. Runners will still run. Surgeons will still perform surgeries and not all will fail!  So instead of worrying about the rules, look for the retrograde in your own experiences.  Mars is about action, anger, courage, and heat. To help your meditations on Mars, following is an excerpt about Mars Retro from my monthly Moon Workshop:

Do keep your Mars glasses on in the weeks ahead! Look for active expressions of this archetype in your world. The retrograde already began for me a week ago when I had an unexpected DIY project, which required getting a couple plywood planks cut at the local lumber store.  Wouldn’t you know… at the lumber store, the fancy man-sized (and Mars-ruled) saw needed to cut my wood sported a sign that said “Broken.”  No other store had the wood I needed and no one knew when the saw would get fixed. I was told to call daily, which I did. My project languished for a week. And the retrograde was just beginning!

Mars retrogrades are less frequent than Mercury or Venus retrogrades—but they’re still relatively common, occurring every two to two-and-a-half years. Mars was last retrograde from March to May of 2014—when the world was gripped by the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370—a perfectly strange expression of an errant Mars.  Whether the plane disappeared because of rogue premeditated action, or some disastrous fire, explosion, or critical malfunction, all are Mars themes. If you recall the time, there was an odd paralysis of our hearts as well. It was difficult to grieve those we still hoped were alive. The suspiciously delayed actions of the Malaysian government further illustrate how retrogrades can work. Given the discovery in recent weeks of some debris from this plane, perhaps the mystery will get resolved during this Mars retrograde. Sometimes retrogrades continue the theme from their previous ones.

Checking my Moon journal, I see that I was an injured warrior during the last Mars retro. My knee was swollen and I was limping. Natal Mars says something about our preferred types of activity. What does your Mars say about you? Even though Mars currently retrogrades in Sagittarius, your natal Mars may be part of this party. With my Mars in Libra, I’ve always preferred the slow and graceful movements of yoga or ballet to the jumping and pumping of aerobic exercise. But during the last Mars retrograde, I was anything but graceful! I was horribly clumsy—and I had the minor bruises, burns, and cuts to prove it. I spilled things.On the way to cleaning something, I’d make a worse mess. And the chair I bought which was supposedly easy to assemble—sat in the garage in its box. I wasn’t up to handling the Mars implements needed to assemble it until well after Mars went direct.

The beauty of universal astrology factors is that we’ll all be touched in some way. There are spectacular events—but also a lot of small ones, so small they’re virtually unnoticeable unless you’re looking for them. And if you find how the archetype of Mars has touched you—then next you need to ponder what he’s bringing. A message? An affectionate kick in the butt? My Mars clumsiness gave me a better sense of humor about myself—and it improved my yoga practice, the benefits of which I’m still enjoying today.  I’m looking forward to the unexpected blessings this retro will bring.  In the meantime, patience and humor are smart companions for the next two months.  Also this bit of Mars Retro wisdom: sometimes, turning away or backing down is the fastest way to get ahead.

Follow the sky each month all year long with my Moon Workshop.  Enroll here!

Drink the Full Moon


If somebody sold Moon Water in my town, sales would be brisk. Ashland Oregon is abundant with individuals who genuinely revere the Divine Feminine and believe in the powers of subtle energies. And while quite a few of us actually dance under the Full Moon, many more of us, unfortunately, simply dance with the idea of doing it, and most months, we’re even too busy for that. Hence: the attractiveness of purchasing Moon Water. Imagine, having Moon Water in an elegant yet handy spray bottle, so that throughout the day, we could mist our feet, hands, face, and heart with the healing touch of the Moon. At night we could mist our pillows to draw soothing or illuminating dreams. With Moon Water we could charge our crystals. We could brew psychic teas. We could revive ailing pets and house plants.

But alas, Moon Water has not yet hit our shelves. So it is only during those months when we are so fully in tune with the Feminine that we’re able to use this exquisite opportunity each Full Moon brings, not only to charge a jar of spring water, but also to enchant ourselves. While making time to do this is difficult, the procedure itself is simple.

Pour purified water into a glass jar. Place it outside in the moonlight. Stand there awhile. Feel into the moonlight. Close your eyes. Imagine that the Moon is descending and has become a glowing orb just inches above the crown of your head. Feel how the Moon’s light now enters your body, nourishing each of your chakras, filling your cells.

Once you’re filled with the sense of the Moon, open your eyes. Slowly and lovingly circle your right hand in a clockwise direction over the water, nine times. Then do the same with your left hand, counter-clockwise, nine times. After that, over the jar, form a triangle with the index fingers and thumbs of both hands. Into the center of the triangle, pour your gratitude for the gift the Moon is bringing you.

Then wait a minute or two. You may or may not receive a message, perhaps an image, a word, or a sensation. After you feel complete, rub your hands together and shake them out. Leave the bottled water out all night, but retrieve it early in the morning, before it’s touched by the Sun’s rays.

Make New Moon Magic with Solarized Water


Water is a highly sensitive medium. It can receive, hold, and transmit energy. And the Moon, of course, has a special relationship with water, as the prime mover of our inner and outer tides. Since New and Full Moons are high tide moments, doing water practices at these times can greatly increase your energetic sensitivity to the Moon. It will also give you a magical liquid for drinking, cleaning, and plant watering.  Does it really work? Try it on this Aries New Moon and see for yourself! After charging the liquid, hold the bottle or jar and tune in. Then take a drink. Do the same with a glass filled with uncharged water. You may notice a difference.

So here’s what you do: on the day after the New Moon, sometime between sunrise and noon, place a jar of purified water in the sunlight. I like to prepare the water on the night of the New Moon and leave it waiting to catch the early morning beams. Afterwards, I store the water (or natural oil for massaging its virtues into the skin) in a cool dark place until I need it. You can enhance the sign’s vibration by using colored glass or filtering the sunlight through transparent paper or silks.  Aries rules the head, face, and brain. Its solarized water will increase courage and vitality, bring victory in battle, strengthen new beginnings, and can ease depression.  To filter this water through the universally accepted color for Aries, use red.  But tune in first–is this the color you need? You may find another is more energizing, Go with it.

I always leave the water on my altar for a day–this seems to help it hold the charge. Again, try it and see for yourself. The lunation-charged water may feel more stimulating. Depending on your intuitive strengths, you may “hear” the water instead, or see colors. If you can’t sense anything at first, don’t worry. This comes with time. Just making the attempt will start to open you. With New Moon water, you may be able to sense some of the qualities of the New Moon sign—if you can’t, let your imagination help; just imagine how Aries would feel if it were water.

It’s the first New Moon of the season, which is a great time to begin my monthly Moon Workshop:  info and enrollment here!

Lunar Eclipse Soother: Sleeping Goddess


It’s an eclipse and the first full moon of spring. Some full moons are slow, rich and sonorous, making it easy for us to slip into meditation and communion.  But a lunar eclipse is more electric and unstable.  Plus, at the beginning of a season, the weather is still changing and changeable. Our bodies are still adjusting.  Full moons are a great time to drop into the divine feminine, but how to do that when it’s too cold to sit under the moon comfortably–or maybe the temperature is fine, but it’s cloudy?

Here’s a lovely indoor full moon practice that begins as you drift off to sleep. We’ll use imagination as our mind hack–a simple technology to alter consciousness and merge our with mother moon.  We could close our eyes and imagine a luminous moon–but when our image doesn’t have eyes or a mouth, it’s hard for the subconscious to connect with the living quality of the deity. So we imagine her as a woman, in a pose that’s safe and relaxed. I’ve often used the Sleeping Goddess of Malta, but lately I like this earthy contemporary sleeping goddess pictured above, from the Lost Gardens of Heligan, England.  Note that both goddesses are sleeping on their right side.  The pose is meant to advise us. When we lie on our right side, we energize our moon channel, empowering it to do the moon’s nightly chores while we sleep.

Try this experiment. Use your imagination to reach the goddess on the night of the full moon. First, see her floating in front of you. Once the sense of that image feels alive and stable, let it grow bigger, then merge with it, so that you and the goddess are now one. Don’t worry about how this happens, just allow it to happen. Let your thoughts merge with hers. Surrender into her body as you drift off to sleep.

During an eclipse, many of us are kept awake by the wild energy in the atmosphere. Collecting that energy into this sleeping form is an effective way to tame excited Shakti.  Imagine yourself as a sleeping goddess, rising and falling with the world breath.  Notice if you feel your system calming down as you do this.


A Little Eclipse Foot Magic


We need grounding during eclipses. So place your bare feet on the altar of this Pisces New Moon. Traditionally, this sign rules the feet. Some ancient wise one must have seen how the soles are a doorway to the soul as it circulates through your body. Your feet are vital centers for energy flow. When you energetically plug your toes into the earth, notice what happens: you will receive a bright updraft of earth’s prana or chi. Your steadiness and delight will grow. When you massage your feet, you vitalize all organs and energetic pathways in your body. When you do this before sleep, your dreams are clearer and more peaceful. When you take care of your feet, you nurture the whole of you.

How to Stand Under the Full Moon

moony lady

This simple trick was long hidden from me:  how to stand properly underneath the Moon. For much of my adult life, I’ve stood awkwardly under Luna, trying to lasso her with my modern mind, from the neck up, vaguely wanting something more than I was getting, but feeling nothing special. It was the same as if I were standing next to an automobile or some other object. Then sometime, as is true—when the time was right—after years of trying, I stumbled into it: a way of standing under the Moon that felt sensitive and satisfying. No mumbo jumbo necessary. That’s because thinking about it–even beautiful concepts like the Moon is earth’s oldest temple holding the potency of countless prayers since the dawn of time–doesn’t help. You have to sink your awareness lower than mind: this is what it means to get naked under the Moon.  It’s a relaxed and spacious state. Once you locate it, you can snap into it again, instantly. And just as easily, you can snap out. So that’s the value of this universal spiritual act: The Moon becomes a bell whose ringing brings you into the field of the Mother, where body and soul can quietly drink. But don’t think about it. Just enjoy.

Let 2016 become the year of the Moon for you! Join my monthly Moon Workshop here